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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

What is OSA?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is when your airway closes up during your sleep. This causes you to stop breathing, making your brain wake and opening your airway up again before falling asleep instantly. These micro-arousals, caused by the apneas, often go completely unnoticed by the person despite occurring up to 400 times a night, although partners or room-mates are more likely to notice the splutter or loud snoring noise associated with them. It is the symptoms of Sleep Apnoea, more than the events themselves, that provide the clues about your condition.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Symptoms

Key Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea:

  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Snoring
  • Feeling excessively tired during the day
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lack of interest in sex
  • Irritability and a short temper
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Frequent toilet visits during the night
  • Headaches (particularly in the morning)
  • In men, impotence

Statistics

OSA is more common in men than women, especially obese men who snore. Seniors are more likely to develop the condition – as are people with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. With the increasing age and obesity in the UK, the numbers of OSA cases is expected to increase in coming years.
The majority of OSA cases are undiagnosed but experts estimate that in the UK 1.5 million adults have the disorder. Only a small number — just 330,000 people — have been diagnosed and treated.
When the condition is not treated, people don’t get the restorative sleep the body requires. Plus there are consequences such as increased road traffic accident rates, cardiovascular events, and strokes.
Statistics show higher risks of untreated OSA:

 

  • 40% increased excessive daytime sleepiness
  • 2 times more traffic accidents per mile
  • 3 times greater risk of occupational accidents
  • 40% increased risk of depression
  • 1.3 to 2.5 times more hypertension
  • 1.6 times increased chance of stroke
  • 1.4 to 2.3 times greater risk of heart attack
  • 2.2 times higher risk of nocturnal cardiac arrhythmia
  • 3.9 times more likely to have congestive heart failure

CPAP Improves Sleep Apnoea Dramatically

Most people receiving CPAP treatment experience a dramatic improvement in their health and quality of life, and their health care costs return to normal levels. They showed significant improvements in driving, daytime sleepiness, cognitive performance and mood. Also, work absenteeism was reduced.

If you snore loudly and show other signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, it’s time to take an In-Home Sleep Test as the first step toward getting treatment.

Here’s information to order: https://sleeptestuk.com/ordering-information/

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Treatments

Should a Sleep Test confirm the presence of OSA, there are a number of clinically proven treatments available.

1. CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy

CPAP is the most widely used method of treating OSAHS of all severities. It consists of a CPAP Machine to pump air through a connecting hose into a CPAP mask worn while sleeping, which gently creates an ‘air splint’ keeping the airway open. The pressure provided by the machine stops the throat from constricting and closing, preventing the apnoeas and hypopnoeas from occurring so you can sleep and breathe normally. While this may sound like a ventilator, CPAP does not do the breathing for you nor does it provide oxygen. You breathe air normally while the increased pressure from the machine prevents OSAHS from occurring.

You may be able to obtain the equipment via the NHS (although waiting times can be several months) or you can purchase privately from our sister website CPAP.co.uk.

2. OAT (Oral Appliance Therapy)

slepptest

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) uses a splint worn in the mouth to move the lower jaw slightly forward to allow for more airflow. As OSAHS is caused by the throat narrowing or closing, positioning the lower jaw further forward creates more space inside the throat for passage of air and reduces the frequency of apnoeas and hypopnoeas as a result. In many cases snoring is also reduced.

The splint can be either a custom-made appliance fitted by a dentist or a much lower cost ‘heat and bite’ device that provides simple customisation. OAT is a clinically-proven method of treating mild OSAHS, and some find it more comfortable or less invasive than CPAP.

3. Positional Therapy

slepptest

Positional therapy is used to treat people who have sleep apnoea primarily when they sleep on their backs. When they sleep on their sides, their breathing returns to normal. For positional therapy, you will wear a special device around your back or waist. This will keep you sleeping on your side. Or, you might try a small vibrating device on the back of your neck. It won’t wake you up, but will start vibrating when you roll onto your back — which sends your body a message that prevents the rollover. Many people need positional therapy in addition to other sleep apnoea treatments.

4. Nutrition, lifestyle and weight loss

slepptest

If appropriate, a nutrition and weight-loss program can often provide benefit. Living with a healthier body is known to have a significant, direct positive effect on sleep, OSAHS and many other health issues. A direct link between excess weight and both OSAHS and snoring severity has been shown, so if you are overweight you may find that weight loss provides an improvement in your OSA symptoms.

Contact Us

Do you have any questions?

Telephone:

0800 024 8050 (from UK) or +44 800 024 8050 (non-UK) (9am - 5pm UK time, Monday to Friday)

Fax:

0844 504 9494 (from UK) or +44 844 504 9494 (non-UK))

Head Office Address:

2 Walton Business Centre
46 Terrace Road
Walton-on-Thames
Surrey KT12 2SD United Kingdom